Tehran theater to host “Hedda Gabler”

July 2, 2019

TEHRAN – A reading of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s 1891 play “Hedda Gabler” will be performed at Tehran’s Mehregan Theater on Saturday. 

Maryam Baqeri will direct the reading performance with a cast composed of Fariba Ramezanpur, Azadeh Akbari, Mir-Nader Mazlumi, Parsa Kojuri and Arezu Khodakarami. 

The play is about Hedda, the daughter of General Gabler, and her new husband, George Tesman, who return from their six-month honeymoon to their new house.

Hedda married George out of desperation, only because she had reached the age at which society dictated she should wed. But she finds life with him to be dull and tedious even though she’s pregnant with his child.

When Hedda meets Eilert Lovborg, an alcoholic friend and George’s academic rival, she finds out he has quit drinking and has devoted himself to serious work due to his love for Hedda’s friend. 

Out of jealousy, Hedda persuades Lovborg to start drinking again and later incites him to commit suicide. 

Earlier in 2011, actor and director Vahid Rahbani staged “Hedda Gabler” in Tehran. The play was soon banned by the Office for Dramatic Arts after pictures containing allegedly un-Islamic scenes from the play were published by a Persian new agency.  

Complaining about the decision, Rahbani withdrew his play from the 29th Fajr International Theater Festival that year.

“Hedda Gabler” has been adapted for the screen a number of times, from the silent film era onwards, in several languages.

The most successful one was “Hedda” (1975) by British director Trevor Nunn, which brought its star Glenda Jackson a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

The BBC also screened a television production of the play in 1962, with the period stars Ingrid Bergman, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson and Trevor Howard.

Photo: Iranian director Maryam Baqeri in an undated photo.

ABU/MMS/YAW

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